NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Gatundu North lawmaker Clement Waibara has become the latest casualty in Parliament, after the High Court nullified his 2007 election.
Mr Waibara lost his seat following a case filed by Bernard Chege Mburu.
One of the claims made in court was that Mr Waibara’s best friend Martin Kahura took a language proficiency test on his behalf to qualify for parliamentary candidacy.
Mr Chege, a voter, claimed that Mr Waibara was a school dropout who cannot articulate himself in English and Kiswahili.
He also accused the MP of electoral irregularities, including bribery of voters and causing violence before and during the December 2007 poll.
In his ruling, Justice Fred Ochieng’ said that the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya which presided over the 2007 poll failed to discharge its duties lawfully.
Justice Ochieng’ said: “Even though all the main actors of the petition who include the petitioner Bernard Chege Mburu, Patrick Muiruri and Martin Ndung’u Kahura were doubtful characters and are unreliable witnesses the court cannot close its eyes to electoral irregularities that were committed by the ECK officials.”
“ECK failed to sign form 16 A and putting all the details that are required. And on that ground alone Waibara was not validly elected and in hereby nullify his election.”
Justice Ochieng’s judgement comes barely a year before the next General Election is held.
But the court said that the execution of that judgment be stayed for the next four working days.
This is after Mr Waibara claimed that the former area MP Patrick Muiruri allegedly told constituents in one of the markets in the area that they should prepare for a by-election.
His lawyer Evans Ondieki questioned the integrity of the judgment asking how Mr Muiruri knew the outcome of the petition.
Justice Ochieng has ordered the Police Commissioner to investigate the integrity of his judgement.
Only last week, Kamukunji residents elected Yusuf Hassan of the Party of National Unity to replace Simon Mbugua who was also sent packing by the High Court after a successful election petition by ODM’s Ibrahim Ahmed alias Johnnie. Mr Ahmed managed second place in the hard fought by-election.
Two weeks ago Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati also lost his seat after a court nullified his election over irregularities.
Mr Nyambati, who is also the vice chairman of the Parliamentary Service Commission, became the 11th MP to lose his seat in election petitions.
Kisii High Court judge Milton Makhandia nullified the election following a petition filed by a voter Justus Omiti Mong’umbu.
Other legislators who lost poll petitions were: Joel Onyancha (Bomachoge), Omingo Magara (South Mugirango), Chirau Mwakwere (Matuga), Simon Mbugua (Kamukunji), Dick Wathika (Makadara), George Thuo (Juja), Margaret Wanjiru (Starehe), Ngata Kariuki (Kirinyanga Central), Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani) and Abdirahman Hassan (Wajir South).
Only Mr Mwakwere, Ms Wanjiru and Mr Khalwale made it back to Parliament in the subsequent by-elections.